Top 3 Must-Buy Hokkaido-Made Cheeses and Wineries at New Chitose Airport

Cheese made with fresh milk is a souvenir that best represents Hokkaido, which is known as the dairy kingdom of Japan. Wines produced in Hokkaido, which go really well with its cheeses, are also gaining a lot of interest recently as a specialty product of the region.

Wine & Cheese Hokkaido Konosha, located at New Chitose Airport, offers a wide variety of products under the theme “marriage of wines and cheeses from various areas in Hokkaido”. This article contains three of the shop manager’s most recommended cheeses and wineries.

Located amidst more than 100 cheese ateliers and factories found in Hokkaido, this shop carries 100 types of cheeses manufactured by 21 companies. With a wide array of cheeses from famous factories on display, including Toit Vert from Kuromatsunai town and Tokachino Fromages from Nakasatsunai-mura, here are the cheeses that the shop manager thinks are the best!

【Sapporo City】Caciocavallo Made by Italian Artisans in Fattoria Bio Hokkaido – 2,970 JPY for 500g

Fattoria Bio Hokkaido is a historical farm in Southern Italy that has inherited the world’s best cheese production technology. It opened a cheese factory in Sapporo’s Shiroishi district in 2013. Here, they make traditional Italian cheeses using fresh milk from Hokkaido.

Of the many products it has on its menu, the Caciocavallo bagged the gold prize in the Japan Cheese Award 2014 that was sponsored by the Japanese NPO Cheese Profession Association! The best way to eat this cheese is to slice it thick and then grill it on an iron plate. Wait for the surface to burn and for the cheese to ooze out. Once you take a bite, your mouth will be flooded with a sweet, milky sensation.

【Asahikawa City】Etambetsu Blue Cheese by Ise Farm – 980 JPY for 100g

This is a rare cheese from Ise Farm, a farm that grazes 20 cows in the Etambetsu area, which is in the cool Asahikawa City. An exquisite cheese that has many fans – including JAL’s first-class international flight passengers – it is the kind of cheese that will give you that robust taste of milk, as well as the mild flavors of blue mold.

"I really want you to enjoy the refined flavor, so I want you to eat as it is," the shop manager said. People who like that distinct taste of blue cheese should try this cheese for the delicious aroma that emanates when it is broken by hand.

【Iwamizawa City】 Hokkaido Processed Cheese in Olive Oil by North Farm Stock – 777 JPY for 140g

This cheese is a hit product of North Farm Stock, a processed food brand that uses high-quality ingredients from Hokkaido. It is a Hokkaido-made processed cheese soaked in olive oil, so you can eat it as snack straight out of the bottle. Furthermore, it can be put on toasted baguettes or paired with sparkling wine, so it is a favorite item for home parties.

Next up are the recommended wineries. Aside from Yoichi that is known as a special area for wines, Okushiri and Sorachi also produce delicious wines, with the number of wineries in Hokkaido exceeding 30 today. Wine & Cheese Hokkaido Konosha sells more than 130 different kinds of wines from 16 companies. Claiming that “The wines made in Hokkaido have become remarkably tastier in the past 10 years”, the shop manager gave his top three wineries that are following this taste trend.

【Yoichi】OcciGabi Winery

The owner of this winery studied at the National Wine School in Germany and the Austrian National Brewery opened this winery in Yoichi in 2012. This winery has been gaining a lot of attention for its cultivation of not only Kerner variety of grapes that are perfect for the cool regional weather, but also of the full-bodied Cabernet variety that is difficult to grow in cold areas such as Hokkaido.

For the shop manager, the red wine that best represents Hokkaido is the Zweigeltrebe. Characterized by its refined acidity, smooth tannins and rich aroma, the manager admires it for going “perfectly with the blue cheese from Ise Farm”! The Zweigeltrebe made in 2017 is currently being sold for 2,300 JPY, so try this pair of wine and cheese.

【Mikasa City】Takizawa Winery

The natural wine that is currently the talk of the town in the wine world is the one that is made with wild yeast that uses the natural fermentation power of grapes. At Takizawa Winery, they have dared to brew wine using wild yeast, creating a “wine that maximizes the power of nature”.

This winery’s representative product is the Delaware Macere that is made from additive-free edible grapes that do not use antioxidants. The Tabiji Rosé Sparkling Wine that uses Tabiji grapes, a variety of grapes unique to Hokkaido, is famous for its rich aroma and deep taste. If you see any one of these wines, make sure to grab a bottle!

【Yoichi】Rita Farm & Winery

If you are looking for natural wines, then you might want to check out the winery that is run by a husband-and-wife couple in Yoichi. Here, they also brew the wine by hand using wild yeast, with the husband in charge of the wine label designs. The shop manager remarked that “Their wines are designed with great sense, so giving a bottle as souvenir will surely make somebody very happy”. The designs on the labels are quite fancy, so it would be fun to buy a set.

Recommended here is the sparkling wine HANABI Niagara Sparkling which bears a design that depicts the fireworks launched in Yoichi each year. With a taste that is also inspired by the beauty of fireworks, this is an exquisite wine that is specially made using a traditional champagne recipe. On top of wines, this winery also specializes in Farmer's Cider that uses apples, the local produce of this town.

At this shop, the wines are priced between 1,500 JPY and 6,000 JPY, with the wines for the year sold starting from November. Sometimes the wines sell out quickly. Note, though, that each wine here has flavor preferences and cheese pairings, so feel free to consult with the staff for recommendations!

Phone: 0123-25-8639
Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Closed: None *The items featured here may be sold out!

Wine&Cheese Hokkaido Konosha

New Chitose Airport, Domestic Terminal Bldg. 2F, Bibi, Chitose-shi, Hokkaido

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 08.17.2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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